Vestibular Rehabilitation

Do you feel dizzy, lightheaded, and/or unsteady? Do you feel like you or your surroundings are spinning or moving? Have you had a recent fall due to balance difficulties? Vestibular rehabilitation is a method of physical therapy to correct difficulties with balance, posture, strength, and coordination which can be a source of dizziness, vertigo, or falls.

Vestibular rehabilitation emphasizes exercise to remediate a person's ability to maintain equilibrium. A person maintains balance through various senses - vision, muscles, joints, and vestibular system (which includes the inner ear). Vestibular rehabilitation focuses on these areas to optimize a person's physical abilities.

The goal of vestibular rehabilitation is to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with information from vision, muscles, and joints. Vestibular rehabilitation consists of the following:

  • A specialized physical therapist performs a comprehensive evaluation
  • An individualized treatment plan is developed for the patient, taking into account his or her medical conditions, lifestyle, and personal goals
  • Follow up communication with the patient's physician occurs often to report progress and results.
  • The physician or physical therapist may order computerized posturography (a balance test) to assist with diagnosis, objectively measure balance, and individualize treatment plan. Posturography (Balance Master) can be performed at OHSU.
  • Discuss your options with your physician.

Common diagnosis in which vestibular rehabilitation may be helpful:

  • Positional vertigo (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV) Vestibular labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis (or neuronitis)
  • Post acoustic neuroma tumor resection
  • Meniere's disease
  • Post concussive syndrome
  • Ataxia